Do you notice lately that your child seems irritable and upset without reasons you detect? Is your teenager lamming doors and hiding in his room all afternoon? What’s going on? You want to help but don’t have a clue. You begin feeling helpless and powerless to stem the growing anger in your child and not overreact without understanding what is going on.
6 Cues to Anger Masking Anxiety
- When you find your child or teen’s moods are shifting a great deal and anger is seeping out at the slightest times, maybe hiding behind that outward demeanor is inner anxiety.
- Try and find times when your child is calm and not stressed out and just have idle conversation about what’s been going on in their daily life.
- Try to have conversation rather a litany of questions about their social life and school performance.
- You may learn that your child has a crush on someone who never notices him or her. The child or teen is beginning to feel social anxiety. They generalize that no one finds them appealing and get very anxious in social situations. Instead of just telling you this deep, dark secret they act angry at minor slights around the house.
- When you see your child overreacting to minor frustrations with lots of angry reactions, it’s a clue not to get mad at them but consider that they are actually anxious about something.
- Perhaps your child is very angry at a well-meaning teacher. It’s a conundrum. You know this teacher and she’s kind. Then you consider that your child is having some low grades that are making him very anxious about his final grade. If you don’t react to the anger, but just engage him in what’s bothering him, you may get a tutor to help him get up to speed.
So in time you learn that your angry child is really an anxious child. He or she learns that you are not judging him or criticizing her but there to help. When a parent understands their child is anxious, the child feels so much less alone that the anger vanishes and problems are solved.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Chikld’s Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. This book will, guide you to learning how to discover the anxiety hiding behind the anger of your child and build your parent-child relatiosnhip.